Waitress Takes Off Running After Customer Hands Her Check for $500 To Help with School


The surprises that hit us unexpectedly are the ones that truly knock us off our feet. Some people thrive off of surprise generosity and taking people’s breaths away in a way that is full of joy.

Financial gifts are the ones that truly leave us at a loss for words in our times of need.

A great example of this is when 27-year-old Chicago schoolteacher Kimber Bermudez was aboard a flight to Florida when she started talking about her students’ financial needs at home, as well as the cost of school supplies, with her seatmate.

That’s when the man behind her tapped her on her shoulder and handed her a bundle of cash. That’s when everyone around her began chipping in, telling her to “do something amazing.”

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More recently, Lansing State Journal reported of a similar act of generosity, but this time with 19-year-old Jesika Price, a waitress at the A&W Restaurant in Grand Ledge.

“I absolutely love my job. I know every one of my customers when they come through the door,” Price said.

Price makes the most of her job and often partakes in conversations with her customers, forming relationships with them.

Price was adopted when she was 2 years old into a family that eventually had 11 children in it. She didn’t get in contact with her birth family until she was able to at the age of 18.

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She left home for a while after the death of her grandfather and uncle, and she went to live with her high school boyfriend’s family. Her now ex-boyfriend’s mom, Tammy Partridge, works at the same restaurant and still maintains a great relationship with her despite the awkward circumstances.

“I love Jesika to pieces. She’s like my kid,” Partridge said.

Price never received her high school diploma, and that is the reason why she worked so hard. She wants to get her GED and go to college to become a neonatal nurse.

Price generally received pretty good tips from customers — the highest being $40 on a $10 meal. One of her best tippers was a retired educator who grew up in the restaurant business. He would give her $10 every time to tuck away for education.

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One day, he stopped by the restaurant and asked Price to spell her name.

He wrote her a check for what at first appeared to be $5, so Jesika thanked him excitedly.

He told her to check it again, and she realized it was for $500. She then shrieked and ran to go tell the co-owner of the restaurant, Mark Mulder, who told her to view it as a gift from God.

The generous man didn’t want to be identified by name. “We’re not living in a real good world at this time. I’m trying to make it a better world, my way,” he said.

“That $500 will help me insanely. I was not even going to go to college until I had money saved. I was going to wait a couple more years,” Price said.

With this money, she is able to pay off her bills and live with her best friend, as well as start community college in the spring.

What a generous gift! Thank you for inspiring us all to pay it forward!

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Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a major in English, minors in both Writing and Communication Studies, and a Technical Writing concentration. She is currently working on designing and writing a book of poetry to financially support a new homeless ministry of Grove City, PA called Beloved Mercy Ministry. In her spare time, she loves to sing, play piano, exercise, traverse cities, and find the cutest coffee shops. She also has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Philadelphia, PA
Scholarship of Academic Achievement and Moral Character
Grove City College
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Visual Design, Document Design, Technical Communication, Literature, Computer Ethics